Out of Their Minds

Novel, first published: Putnam 1970

Brer Rabbit, Don Quixote, the Wicked Witch of the North, and the Devil himself are all characters in this novel about the adventures of Horton Smith, a television and radio newsman on his way home to Pilot Knob. In the very first chapter, his car gets run off the road by a dinosaur, and he is invited in for supper at a cabin inhabited by a man and woman who look surprisingly like the comic strip hillbillies Snuffy and Lowizie. Smith had read a manuscript by a history professor who advanced the theory that humanity's imagination has created a world of creatures from the "energy of thought" that will, in the course of evolution, supersede the human race. Three times someone or something has tried to kill him, and Smith realizes anyone who reads this manuscript is in terrible danger from these unseen forces.
Smith and his girl friend leave Pilot Knob and start out for Washington, DC, but are sidetracked into a delightful alternate world populated by characters from comic strips, folktales, and literature. They meet Mickey Mouse and Pluto, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, and the Devil himself, who warns that the fantasy creatures have a plan, but the Devil won't reveal what it is.
Horton suddenly wakes up in the thick of the Battle of Gettysburg but fought just as Civil War buffs have imagined it. When one of Lovecraft's monsters from the Cthulhu mythos appears, Horton is snapped back into the "real" world, where he finds that all means of transportation and communication have been enchanted to a stop. The Devil appears at the White House and makes his quirky demands-more truly evil characters must be imagined, or the wheel or fire will be next to go. Smith saves the day by rendering the Devil helpless in an iron fence, and Sancho Panza tortures the Devil into reversing the spell by throwing water on him, remembering that imaginary creatures must play by the rules humans have imagined.

Ewald, Robert J.: When the Fires Burn High and the Wind is from the North, p.93-94